If science is the new rock 'n roll, physics is my jam right now. "Surreal alt-science" isn't a phrase that I expected to use in a comic review, but I'm not even sad that I'm using it. COLLIDER brings some really trippy ideas to how we think about the so-called laws that define the world, and it does it in a far more earnest way than sci-fi or superhero books that just take our suspension of disbelief for granted.
The setup is formulaic, but not to the point of cliche. It's a first issue, so there are certain things to be expected. We've got a glimpse of the past -- a time that represents the old normalcy -- and an open plot thread about Adam's father (I mean, I started getting concerned for his welfare in the second panel, so I'm primed for a terrifyingly interesting story), a charming meet-cute that introduces our hero, an immediate disaster that the main cast has to solve, a little bit of hinting at a less-than-upright arrangement between Jay the Senator, and a massive, glowy, possibly-alt-dimensional cliffhanger. Plenty of material to expand upon, and plenty of opportunities for things to get weird. I hope they get weird.
Artist Robbi Rodriguez plays with perspective and line in a way that makes perfect sense for a world where the laws of physics aren't so much laws as suggestions. Clever angles and exaggerated facial expressions help us get to know more about the characters, and muddled, swirly shapes kick things into surreal territory when the plot wants us to be there. The physics-disruption panels are the sequential equivalent of the surrealist parts of I Heart Huckabees rolled into a tense action flick -- they're weird, and messy, and exactly right.
Rico Renzi's colors pop in a most excellent way -- it's rare to see hot pink used so frequently and effectively, and I'm really into that choice. I'm also really into colors that aren't over-rendered, and Renzi's play well with Rodriguez's lines.
I love being dropped into the middle of a story, skipping the origin (or saving it for later) and just being immersed in the world. That said, we're dealing with some complex stuff here, and I'd like a tiny bit of a primer on the real-world-adjacent nature of this title -- how the parts of the machine work. We know that 9-1-1 is aware of physics emergencies to the extent that the F.B.P. is as much of an option as the fire or police departments, but I'd like some clarification on how much the general populace is educated on physical anomalies. If only Vertigo books came with extra pages in the back for maps and timelines and physics primers...
Given the right conditions, Simon Oliver and Robbi Rodriguez will launch a spectacularly interesting title. COLLIDER is different and fresh and weird, and I'm totally into it. I can't even begin to tell what the grander story is, but it looks like it's going to be such a fun, surreal journey that I'm willing to forget about the big picture for now, and enjoy the gravity disruptions.